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Sharapova, Henin advance to French showdown

 Belgium's Justine Henin returns the ball to Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova during their first round  match for the French Open tennis tournament at th...
 Belgium's Justine Henin returns the ball to Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova during their first round  match for the French Open tennis tournament at th...
 Belgium's Justine Henin returns the ball to Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova during their first round  match for the French Open tennis tournament at th...
 Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Argentina's Horacio Zeballos during their second round match for the French Open tennis tournament at the Ro...
 Spain's Rafael Nadal goes up to the net to return the ball to Argentina's Horacio Zeballos during a second round match of the French Open tennis tour...
 USA's Serena Williams returns the ball to Germany's Julia Goerges during a second round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garr...
 Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Argentina's Horacio Zeballos during their second round match for the French Open tennis tournament at the Ro...
 Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Argentina's Horacio Zeballos during their second round match for the French Open tennis tournament at the Ro...
 USA's Serena Williams returns the ball to Germany's Julia Goerges during a second round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garr...
 Spain's Rafael Nadal serves the ball to Argentina's Horacio Zeballos during their second round match for the French Open tennis tournament at the Rol...
 Belgium's Justine Henin returns the ball to Czech Republic's Klara Zakopalova during a second round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the...

France Tennis French Open

Belgium's Justine Henin returns the ball to Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova during their first round match for the French Open tennis tournament at th...

France Tennis French Open

Belgium's Justine Henin returns the ball to Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova during their first round match for the French Open tennis tournament at th...

France Tennis French Open

Belgium's Justine Henin returns the ball to Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova during their first round match for the French Open tennis tournament at th...

France Tennis French Open

Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Argentina's Horacio Zeballos during their second round match for the French Open tennis tournament at the Ro...

France Tennis French Open

Spain's Rafael Nadal goes up to the net to return the ball to Argentina's Horacio Zeballos during a second round match of the French Open tennis tour...

France Tennis French Open

USA's Serena Williams returns the ball to Germany's Julia Goerges during a second round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garr...

France Tennis French Open

Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Argentina's Horacio Zeballos during their second round match for the French Open tennis tournament at the Ro...

France Tennis French Open

Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Argentina's Horacio Zeballos during their second round match for the French Open tennis tournament at the Ro...

France Tennis French Open

USA's Serena Williams returns the ball to Germany's Julia Goerges during a second round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garr...

France Tennis French Open

Spain's Rafael Nadal serves the ball to Argentina's Horacio Zeballos during their second round match for the French Open tennis tournament at the Rol...

France Tennis French Open

Belgium's Justine Henin returns the ball to Czech Republic's Klara Zakopalova during a second round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the...

Maria Sharapova and Justine Henin set up a third-round showdown at the French Open on Friday by winning matches suspended overnight because of darkness.
Sharapova finished off Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 6-3, 6-3, and four-time champion Henin beat Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-3.
A schedule backlog caused by rain created a parade of champions on the sixth day of the tournament. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams were among those who advanced.
Now the champions start playing each other. Henin has a 6-3 record against Sharapova, but the Russian won their most recent meeting in the quarterfinals of the 2008 Australian Open.
That was Henin's last Grand Slam match before she retired. Now the Belgian is mounting a career comeback and playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2007.
Henin, seeded 22nd, has French Open winning streaks of 23 matches and 39 sets. The No. 12-seeded Sharapova is seeking the only Grand Slam title she has yet to win.
Williams and Nadal took the court on a sunny, cool morning and engaged in brisk workouts. The top-ranked Williams won nine consecutive games and advanced to the third round by beating Julia Goerges of Germany 6-1, 6-1. Four-time champion Nadal lost serve only once and beat Horacio Zeballos of Argentina 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.
Williams won in 55 minutes and said such a rout can help her in later matches.
"I can learn a lot, like, 'OK, what am I doing today? How can I get them to all be like that?'" she said. "Those are the questions that I ask and I try to answer."
Nadal advanced in 1 hour, 45 minutes. He has lost only 13 games through two rounds and next faces two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt, who outlasted Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2. Hewitt improved to 30-14 in five-set matches.
The top-ranked Federer reached the fourth round by beating qualifier Julian Reister of Germany 6-4, 6-0, 6-4. Federer never faced a break point and lost only five points on his first serve.
Djokovic, a two-time semifinalist, overcame nine double-faults for a second-round win over Kei Nishikori of Japan, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.
No. 9 David Ferrer, led 6-2, 6-2, 2-0 when Xavier Malisse retired. No. 19 Nicolas Almagro of Spain, No. 22 Jurgen Melzer of Austria and No. 31 Victor Hansecu of Romania also advanced.
In women's play, Russian qualifier Anastasia Pivovarova, ranked 187th, upset No. 25-seeded Zheng Jie of China 6-4, 6-3. No. 13 Marion Bartoli and No. 29 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova also won.
Williams, bidding for her first title at Roland Garros since 2002, played aggressively and still committed only four unforced errors to 20 for Goerges. Williams often moved two steps inside the baseline to smack returns, and she won 15 of 19 points on Goerges' weak second serves.
Williams held every service game and sprinted forward several times to finish off points with swinging volleys.
The 12-time Grand Slam champion has won 41 consecutive second-round matches in major tournaments since losing in that round in her Grand Slam debut in 1998 to her sister Venus. Serena and Venus are seeded 1-2 in the tournament.
"We're having so much fun at this time of my career, and you know, we just feel good," Serena said. "We're doing the best we can, and we're enjoying every moment."
Nadal won with steady play from the baseline, committing only 12 unforced errors, and he also won 16 points at the net.
Seeded second, Nadal improved to 33-1 at Roland Garros, with his lone loss a fourth-round upset against Robin Soderling in 2009. He is 17-0 on clay this year.


Updated : 2021-07-28 02:52 GMT+08:00